#GOT: Insights from "The Coming Of The First Men" (The World Of Ice & Fire)
"The World of Ice and Fire" #GameofThrones
So, George R. R. Martin and his helpers Elio M. Garcia Jr. and Linda Antonsson wrote a book called "The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game Of Thrones."
The book is an attempt to give serious fans a glimpse into the history of the Westeros from the beginning of its recorded history up to where the books begin. It is certainly not an attempt to write a "World of Ice and Fire Review" more an attempt to write a "World of Ice and Fire Companion Guide."
As with most of GRRM's ASOIAF writings The World of Ice and Fire is very dense and detailed writing and I have learned that taking it a chunk at a time is pretty helpful.
So, that is what I am doing here, tackling each chapter of the book and seeing what insight I can share (if any).
A Song Of Ice and Fire: "The Coming Of The First Men"
Well, the famed "First Men" (the humans) showed up in Dorn by the thousands (we have no idea from where apparently) and then either took a few years, decades, or a century to migrate and spread all f the way to the North.
Why so much uncertainty? Remember that one of the conceits of the book "The World of Ice and Fire" is that it is told from the perspective of a Maester named Yandel writing about the different accumulated histories the Citadel has amassed over time. Throughout the book, the Maester's are skeptical about the "handed-down" aspects of the stories they relate to us.
The first men seemed to arrive in Westeros fully formed, farming, domesticating animals, and with the ability to make weapons and tools.
Anyway, once they got to the North they started farming, which meant that they also started cutting down the Weirwood trees in general and the one's that the Children of the Forest had carved faces on in specific. As a result, the Children declared war on the First Men.
Maester Yandel suggests that most of the advantage went to the first men because they were larger and had better weapons, but despite the First Men having these advantages, the war lasted nearly 100 years. Obviously, the combination of the magic of the Greenseers and the ability of them to talk to and command animals probably helped here.
Maester Yandel pooh pooh's the idea that the Children of the Forest were able to create the Swamps that allowed them to hide from the First Men (suggesting there must have been a natural disaster or weather event that created the swamps) but as we know from watching the show, as they reached the brink of disaster in the was the First Men, the Children used humans & magic to create White Walkers.
At the end of this long war, both the Children and the First Men (or at least the cooler heads among both races) decided to negotiate a truce which was negotiated on the island beyond the swamp where the Children were at the time based. The First Men agreed to stop cutting down the Weirwood trees. The Children created an "Order of Green Men" whose job it was to protect the trees.
Nobody knows if the "Order of Green Men" still exists.
What Does This Add To My Understanding of Game Of Thrones?
Both the books and the television show have made reference to the war between the First Men and the Children, but this (for me) added a great deal of context to why that war was so important to the development of both the cultures of humans and the Children of the Forest in the North.
Because of the war, the Children were almost driven to extinction and pushed what was left of them all the way to "the neck." This explains why it took such a long and treacherous journey for Bran (and his motley band) to find them.
It also provides more context for why the North now worships at Weirwood trees as the truce between the humans and Children followed Greenseers using the trees and other magical powers against them. After you have been fighting for 100 years against a foe with magic and who worship and use trees against you, you might start to have respect for the trees too.
Anyway, that was what I got from this relatively short chapter.
Last time I talked about the "Dawn Age" chapter.
As you may know, I do recaps of Game of Thrones. You can read my recaps of Game of Thrones Season 6 by reading "The complete #OPS guide to Season 6 of #GameofThrones"
You can also read my series on the "Top Ten Problems" that I had with Season 6 of Game of Thrones.
What did you think of "The Coming of The First Men"?
Did you gain any insight that I missed?
Let me know, leave a comment!